For the third straight year, the 2012-13 Upstate Eight Conference crossover girls basketball schedule did not have Elgin Area School District U-46 rivals Bartlett and Streamwood scheduled to play each other.
But Hawks' coach Denise Sarna and Streamwood coach George Rosner, longtime friends and coaching rivals, were able to make room in their nonconference schedules for each other, and Wednesday night the Sabres will take the short trip down Illinois 59 to play the Hawks in Bartlett's gym.
As nonconference games go, this one has some meaning for both teams.
Streamwood would appear to have its best shot in a while of breaking the hex Bartlett has had on the Sabres for the past 10-plus years. The Sabres' last win over the Hawks was on Jan. 10, 2002. Bartlett has won the last 12 meetings, including last year's 54-37 win on UEC crossover night. The two did not play in 2011-12 or 2010-11.
The winning streak means little to Hawks' coach Denise Sarna.
"It's going to be a tough one for us," Sarna said of her 8-5 team facing the 10-2 Sabres. "George has a really nice team this year. It's been a nice rivalry since we've opened. We both needed some games and (the scheduling) worked out. When we do get to play it's a fierce battle. We've had success against them but they always play hard and this year they have a really nice team."
The Sabres are in the middle of a tough stretch of games that came about because of holiday tournament schedules affecting Geneva and Batavia. The Sabres played, and lost to, St. Charles East last Wednesday, then had to travel to Geneva the next night, where they won, and then come back home to play Lake Park Saturday, another win. After playing Bartlett Wednesday, they gas up the bus again the next night to travel to Batavia in yet another key UEC River battle. Streamwood currently trails St. Charles East by 1 game in the River chase.
Rosner was especially pleased with the 53-45 win at Geneva, a night after the Sabres lost to St. Charles East 61-50 on their own floor.
"It's a credit to the girls," Rosner said. "They weren't happy losing at home and we didn't play well at all against St. Charles East. We didn't have any prep time for Geneva; our prep time was on the bus. We just gave them a few keys to work on and they did it. It was tough to play back-to-back like that. We played well against Geneva and then we came back Saturday against Lake Park and we were pretty lethargic in the first quarter but we talked about it and played much better the rest of the game."
Rosner was all for scheduling the game outside the UEC schedule.
"We like playing them and that's why Denise and I scheduled it," he said. "They have a young team but they have a lot of experience in how long they've played together and (Lake Park transfer Alyssa) Hernandez is an excellent player. I think they'll get better and better as the year goes on."
While Streamwood has an experienced group led by seniors Jessica Cerda and Deja Moore and junior Hannah McGlone, the Hawks are still a work in progress, but progress is being made. After starting the season 2-4, the Hawks have won 5 of their last 6, the only loss coming to 14-1 Neuqua Valley last week. And, the Hawks are still very much in the UEC Valley race at 4-1. And they get the same back-to-back games this week as Streamwood as they travel to Metea Valley for a UEC Valley game on Thursday.
"I'm very pleased we're 4-1 in the conference," Sarna said. "We are progressing. We're improving in some areas and continuing to work on other areas. We've had some close games where we've been able to pull out a victory and I like that."
Milestone in waiting: Streamwood senior Jessica Cerda, a Chicago State recruit, is poised to become just the sixth Sabre to reach the 1,000 point mark for her career. She stands just 17 points shy of the milestone and would join Sabre standouts Renee Kanak, Chris Francke, Donna Groh, Emma Schmidt and Rita Castans in the 1,000-point club.
Streakbuster: When Bartlett lost to Neuqua Valley 47-32 last week it snapped a 27-game home winning streak for the Hawks, who had last lost in their own gym on Dec. 3, 2009 to Waubonsie Valley. Anytime home winning streaks are mentioned, it's a good time to mention the longest ones ever around here, which are tied for third longest in state history. That, of course, was the 63-game streak Lee Turek's Elgin Maroons put together at Chesbrough Field House between 1991 and 1997 and the 63-game streak the Milt Awe/Sue Ellett Hampshire teams fashioned from 1998 to 2005 in the original Purple Palace.
Charger Classic Top 35: Dundee-Crown's Charger Classic is celebrating its 30th anniversary in a couple weeks and tournament organizers Dick Storm and Joe Komaromy Monday released the Top 35 players in Charger Classic history. The list, which is below in it's entirety, is pretty impressive. Six players from nine-time champion Fenwick highlight the list, which also includes four players each from Maine West and New Trier. Seventeen schools are represented on the list, which was voted on by eight longtime Charger Classic coaches and two sports writers (present company included) who have seen virtually every player on the list play at D-C.
Tough Warriors: Westminster Christian, which reached a Class 1A sectional final, is putting together another good season. The Warriors are 9-3 overall and 4-0 in the Northeast Athletic Conference.
"We're playing 'older' basketball," said Warriors' coach Ken Flickinger. "We don't have any seniors but we have eight juniors with experience. They're starting to see the game as more mature players would. They see the floor better, there's better passes and we play pretty solid defense. We're attacking the basket and getting a lot of free throws and I'm real happy with that."
While juniors McKaila Hays, Claire Speweik and Liz Meschewski brought the most experience back from last year's 22-9 team, 5-foot-10 freshman Maddie Versluys has been an impact player already, having multiple double-doubles in points and rebounds so far.
"She's been a pleasant surprise," said Flickinger of Versluys, the daughter of 1989 Larkin grad and former Royal basketball standout Fred Versluys, who also starred at Judson University and is now the Westminster Middle School principal.
"She had some nice games this summer at Dundee-Crown but I never would have imagined she'd have the impact she has so far. She has a tremendous nose for the basket and a tremendous work ethic. She never runs out of gas."
One of the Warriors' losses was a 74-60 setback against Class 4A Schaumburg, a game Flickinger says will make his team better as the season goes on.
"That was our toughest test," he said. "It was just a great test for us and a real high energy game. We matched them field goal for field goal and rebound for rebound but they had nine 3s and we only had one."
Westminster, which doesn't play in a Christmas tournament, will be back in action tonight at home against Chicagoland Jewish. On Friday, the Warriors travel to Hampshire for a nonconference game.
On tap this week: Burlington Central hosts Richmond-Burton tonight in a battle of Big Northern East unbeatens, and then the Rockets and Crystal Lake South return to the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic tournament Thursday and Friday. BC is in the second-place bracket and plays McHenry at Woodstock Thursday while South takes on Lakes in the championship bracket at McHenry. On Friday, the Rockets and Gators will play at the same sites against winners/losers from Thursday games. Burlington will play either Woodstock North or Wauconda and CLS will take on either Richmond or Grayslake North. Also tonight, Dundee-Crown looks for its first win of the season when it hosts Larkin. The Chargers will then host Jacobs in Friday at 7 p.m. in a makeup of the game postponed earlier this month by the District 300 teachers strike.
TOP 35 PLAYERS IN CHARGER CLASSIC HISTORY
MAINE WEST -- Moira Kennelly, Nancy Kennelly, Mary Spielman, Dawn Vana
STEVENSON -- Tamika Catchings, Tauja Catchings, Katie Coleman, Jenni Dant
FENWICK -- Sarah Kwasinski (also played for Resurrection), Erin Lawless, Trish Liston, Katie O'Grady, Devereaux Peters, Claudette Towers
NEW TRIER -- Trish Andrew, Amy Jaeschke, Maggie Lyon, Deidre Naughton
RESURRECTION -- Kristi Cirone, Deanna Ortiz
WARREN -- Crystal Cobb
FREMD -- Maggie Fontana, Daryl Schaffeld
STREAMWOOD -- Donna Groh
YORK -- Leslie Hudgens
HOFFMAN ESTATES -- Erin Ingwerson
MOTHER MCAULEY -- Megan Lucid, Katie Schumacher
BUFFALO GROVE -- Allison Mocchi, Maggie Mocchi
NAPERVILLE CENTRAL -- Candace Parker
DUNDEE-CROWN -- Billee Russell
BARTLETT -- Lindsay Schrader
LIBERTYVILLE -- Tami Sears
ST. CHARLES NORTH -- Kelsey Smith